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Transportation Lobby Group Calls on Legislature to Pass Congestion Pricing, Says It Will Reduce Northern Blvd Traffic

photo @MakeQueensSafer
Site of a deadly hit-and-run on Northern Boulevard on April 28.

Jan. 17, 2018 By Meghan Sackman

A local advocacy group is holding a rally next week on Northern Boulevard to announce its support for congestion pricing.

Make Queens Safer, a group that advocates for roadway safety, is calling on the state legislature to back congestion pricing arguing that it will help reduce traffic on Northern Boulevard and thereby deaths.

The group says that many drivers use Northern Boulevard in order to get to Manhattan via the toll-free crossing at the Queensboro Bridge—as opposed to using other East River crossings since they have tolls.

The group argues that with congestion pricing all drivers would have to pay to go into Manhattan south of 60th Street, making the Northern Boulevard corridor less advantageous and therefore less trafficked.

Drivers who use the MTA-tolled access points—such as the Queens-Midown tunnel– would be credited upon going below 60th Street providing price equity. Governor Andrew Cuomo, in his state of the state speech on Tuesday, called on the legislature to pass the plan.

The rally, which will take place on Jan. 24 at 8:15 a.m., will be held at 80th Street and Northern Boulevard, where Miguel Torres, an 11-year-old boy, was fatally struck by a dump truck on his way to school at I.S. 145 school in December 2012.

The corridor has recently been coined “The New Boulevard of Death,” taking the moniker away from Queens Boulevard. There have been eight deaths since January 2017, according to the DOT.

Northern Boulevard is narrow, limiting redesign options(Google)

The DOT is likely to redesign Northern Boulevard and held a series of workshops in 2018 soliciting ideas from the public as to how best to reconfigure it. The thoroughfare–which is narrow compared to Queens Boulevard– currently consists of two moving lanes either way, with a third lane available for rush-hour traffic.

Christina Furlong, co-founder of Make Queens Safer, said that the DOT will be in a better position to make changes if the number of cars using Northern Boulevard is reduced.

“We need to realize that less cars allows for better infrastructure in the area,” Furlong said. “[Northern Boulevard] needs to be a thoroughfare for the community, not an expressway to the Queensboro Bridge.”

Make Queens Safer will be joined at the rally by Families for Safe Streets, Transportation Alternatives, and Fix the Subway coalition.

Northern Boulevard is an access point to the toll-free Queensboro Bridge

Juan Restrepro, the Queens organizer for Transportation Alternatives, said that congestion pricing will encourage people to adopt other modes of transportation.

“We’re not saying congestion pricing is the solution for Northern Boulevard,” Restrepo said. “But It will help free up the street and make redesigning it more possible.”

Make Queens Safer has invited a number of public officials to the rally.

Most of the state legislators who represent western and central Queens have announced their support for congestion pricing.

Assembly members Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria), Catalina Cruz (D-Jackson Heights), Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) and Michael DenDekker (D-East Elmhurst) told the Queens Post this week that they support congestion pricing. Additionally, State senators Mike Gianaris (D-12th District) and Jessica Ramos (D-13th District) have expressed support.

Assembly member Cathy Nolan (D-Long Island City) has yet to respond.

 

 

 

email the author: news@queenspost.com

8 Comments

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JHeights my whole life

Why is it that everytime we get a mayor that claims to be a friend of the poor and working class taxes and fees rise along with corruption. This city has existed for hundreds of years never was thete a congestion toll. Why is this necessary. We are told it’s to fund the mta repairs but where does all that metrocard money go? It seem the city is trying to pit drivers against straphangers when the real culprit is years of mismanagement and wastefulness of city and state agencies. Come on Blaz you f@!*ing up.

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Gerald

I feel like the people that don’t want congestion pricing haven’t set foot in lower Manhattan in a long time. I commute every day from Woodside to lower Manhattan, and besides the effort to cross Queens Blvd even when the light is red, you should see the terrible increase of congestion in lower Manhattan the last few years. Something has to be done, and if congestion pricing works in other cities around the world, why not here? This city wasn’t made for this many cars, let alone all the single occupancy cars going into and out of the city every day. So unnecessary, bring on congestion pricing!

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DO

Uber cars–100,000–snuck into the City without regulation, and endlessly cruise while consulting their phones everywhere–a cap is long overdue. Insane traffic would stop dead, and wages would increase for both hail cabs and Uber car drivers. It’s sick, and yet as a senior, getting to my Manhattan church, dentists, doctors and entertainment will be tolled. The Queensborough bridge was paid for by 1950–so, now we pay for Uber?

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Mr S

This legislation will have many unintended consequences. Was the dump truck that hit the kid even going to the bridge?

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JacksonHead

Another stupid idea by a greedy wasteful government. How about first you make a subway that is actually relaible and then tell people to start using it. At rush hour subway is at capacity already and those morons trying to add more people? Someone fell on the track at Roosevelt 74th E-F platform this morning and died. It’s because it’s way too crowded it’s not safe to stand like that anymore! MTA execs should pay compensation out of their own pockets! If I fail at managing my own company it goes bankrupt. How come they can be failing for decades with 0 responsibility ??

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Mr G

I’m quite sure this is sponsored by the MTA that sees New Yorkers as ATMs. If the so called “congestion” is the problem then why allow thousands of new taxis like uber, lift, via etc. They just want to fleeze us with new taxes because is nothing more than new taxes for us. We already pay the highest taxes in the nation. Tax out of towners who clog the streets every day and pay no taxes here

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Pissbe Ondeblasio

You hit the “Nail on the Head”! Congestion Pricing is a scam that will NOT reduce CONGESTION, it will separate businesses and workers from their hard earned money. The addition of 100,000 more “For Hire Vehicles” to our already congested traffic was thought to be a “Great Idea” by our corrupt City Government?
Our locally elected Officials haven stepped up to protest this obscenity, aren’t they supposed to represent us?

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